AnyVision looks to spin off defense operations, negotiates face biometrics JV with Rafael
Israeli defense contractor Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is in advanced negotiations to purchase ownership interest in AnyVision’s defense-oriented operations, Ctech by Calcalist writes. Rafael will own 50 percent of a joint venture company to be established, while the rest of the shares will go to existing shareholders. According to Globes, AnyVision will retain its homeland security facial biometrics activities while its military operations will become part of the joint venture.
Rafael is reported to be investing tens of millions of dollars in the acquisition as part of its business expansion plan into the AI and the computer vision industry. The technology Rafael and AnyVision will develop is for military use, given AnyVision’s decision to keep civilian and defense operations separate. Most Israeli regulators have given approval for the partnership.
The publication points out that Microsoft’s investment withdrawal in March may have led to the collaboration with Rafael. At the time, Microsoft divested its stake in AnyVision, even though an audit cleared the company from accusations that its biometric facial recognition technology was deployed to a mass surveillance system in the West Bank. Microsoft still sells AnyVision’s company civilian market products.
Microsoft’s M12 participated in AnyVision’s $74 million Series A round last year, just a month before allegations regarding the West Bank deployment.
AnyVision’s biometric facial recognition technology reminds visitors to wear masks and helps with COVID-19 prevention efforts at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel.
In July, the technology was rolled out by Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona in 40 stores in Costa Blanca, Mallorca and Zaragoza to block access to people who are not allowed to enter the store or be near employees.
In an interview in July, company executives told Biometric Update that the touchless access control capability of AnyVision’s technology is the top priority for its partners and customers, just ahead of remote authentication. The news came shortly after it partnered with Boon Edam to integrate touchless facial recognition access control technology with security doors and optical turnstiles.